Sacramento – Senator Andy Vidak’s (R-Hanford) Senate Bill 1178, to help children report abuse or neglect, passed a key Senate policy committee today.
“Child abuse affects children of every age, race and income level. It can often come from a person the child knows and trusts – a relative, babysitter, or friend of the family,” said Vidak. “Current mandated reporting laws only work if there are signs of abuse, but we need to help protect children who are victims of abuse that isn’t evident.”
SB 1178 would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to create a poster showing children the phone number to call if they are the victim of abuse or neglect. The poster would be created in English, Spanish and the other top three languages of the state.
Additionally, if SB 1178 becomes law, school districts, charter schools, and private schools would be encouraged to display the posters in a public area of the school where children are present. The SPI would be required to make the posters available online for download by July 1, 2017.
“The Children Advocacy Center strongly supports passage of SB 1178 so that students know who to turn to for help, because all too often, abused children do not know who to tell that they have been abused,” said Children Advocacy Center representative Erin Harper.
“This bill accomplishes two goals: reminds children that they have the power to self-report abuse; and provides them with a mechanism to report it,” said Marc Klaas, founder of KlaasKids Foundation.
After Texas enacted a similar bill in 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received 38,000 more calls of suspected abuse than the prior year.
The Senate Committee on Education passed SB 1178 with unanimous support.